Swedbank has moved to take full ownership of Norwegian investment bank First Securities and fold it into a new investment banking unit within its Large Corporate & Institutions business – a move likely to lead to hiring in a range of areas next year, as well as transfers and some redundancies.
Swedbank has had a majority stake in First Securities, which employs around 230 people working across equities, research, corporate finance and back office functions, for the past two years but has now made the decision to acquire the remaining 49% of the business and create a new IB unit.
This will bring its equities, ECM and corporate finance units under one umbrella, under the leadership of LC&I head of investment banking Jörgen Ulvness.
When it comes to jobs, the integration process will inevitably mean upheaval, with some roles changing and some being lost, as well as some hiring, says Stefan Carlsson, head of LC&I at Swedbank.
“It is not going to be so much a question of increasing or decreasing headcount. Our focus is more going to be on whether we have the right competencies in every position,” he explains.
“So there will be some rotations of people going on, some people will leave and there will be some key hires too.
“The IB area in Sweden – so ECM, corporate finance, equities and sales, trading and research – is one that we are keen to strengthen, but I also think areas such as operations need to improve and we need to close some gaps we have there. So I think that will require some hiring,” he adds.
The long-term goal is to move the Norwegian operation from being an advice-driven investment bank to become a fully integrated corporate bank within Swedbank, Carlsson stresses.
The new structure will also allow Swedbank to offer qualified services in the bond and commercial papers markets, interest rate and currency trading, institutional equity trading and corporate finance as well as offering a Nordic and Baltic research product.